Penn State’s Board of Trustees voted unanimously on Friday to buy the 1.3 acre site of Kissell Motorsports for $2.6 million dollars. The lot is in Ferguson Township, 9 blocks west of the Atherton and College intersection. The purchase can be viewed in the context of other recent land acquisition– in 2008 the university acquired a 4.66 acre lot that had been occupied by O.W. Houts, and in 2009 it acquired another property from Craig and Kathleen Kissell.
Over in the StateCollege.com comments, longtime State College commentator Veblen noted that the Kissells have made 30% on their sale of the property.
The university has not yet declared its intentions for the land’s long term use, but the building will probably be used by University Athletics staff for the interim. The university has talked around long term expansion plans and has not yet specified what it would build in the far west side of campus.
Housing similar to the already-built White Course Apartments is possible, though, as the Collegian noted, some borough council members are worried that Penn State development in Ferguson Township could upset the plans that have been mentioned as ways to develop housing downtown. StateCollege.com reported that a Board of Trustees document says that the purchase “eliminates the possibility of adverse ownership,” referring to plans by Ferguson Township to develop the area commercially.
Even if Penn State does nothing with the land for a few years, purchasing it now prevents the university from having to pay an even more inflated price for it in the future. What is for sure is that by owning the land, the university gives itself more options for future growth. That’s definitely a good thing– I just hope students see the benefits of the purchase too (that means more housing!).